-Read the excerpt below from the "Best of the Web" post by's editor James Taranto (original post date 9/9/11).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

[NOTE:  Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, are candidates for the Republican nominee for the 2012 presidential race.]

From an Associated Press dispatch titled “FACT CHECK: Perry, Romney Twist Records in Debate”:

ROMNEY: “At the end of four years, we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent. That’s a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in the entire country.”

THE FACTS: To be sure, 4.7 percent unemployment would be a welcome figure nationally. But Romney started from a much better position than President Barack Obama did. Unemployment was only 5.6 percent when Romney took office in 2003, meaning it came down by less than 1 percentage point when he left office in 2007. Obama inherited a national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.

That’s the entire item. The AP doesn’t note that if nationwide unemployment were down by less than one percentage point since Obama took office, it would be as low as 6.9%–which would also “be a welcome figure nationally” compared with the current 9.1%.

Meanwhile, check out this AP correction:

BASTROP, Texas–The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about Texas residents questioning why Gov. Rick Perry has not spent more time in areas affected by wildfires. The single person who asked about Perry’s involvement was not an area resident.

Other than that, the story was accurate.

Read the original post at  (Scroll almost halfway down to “Accountability Journalism”)

Identifying Media Bias

To accurately identify different types of bias, you should be aware of the issues of the day, and the liberal and conservative perspectives on each issue.

Types of Media Bias:


In 2008, the Associated Press began practicing “accountability journalism.” The AP’s Washington head Ron Fournier explained that the venerable wire service, long known for its just-the-facts style of reporting, now aimed to be “provocative,” telling readers not only what happened “but why it happened,” “what it might mean,” and “what it might reveal about the people who presume to be our leaders,” who “sometimes” are “just plain wrong.”  Yet he promised the AP would somehow do this without editorializing or becoming partisan [biased]. (from Taranto in 2008)

1.  Do you think the Associated Press excerpts on Gov. Romney and Gov. Perry are examples of biased reporting?
2.  If you answered yes, what type of bias are the excerpts examples of?  If no, explain your answer.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.


1.  Opinion question. Answers vary.

2.  If yes, bias by spin.  If no, answers vary.